Notary services that are U.S. authorized - Berlin

Tips on where to get documents notarized

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solagratia
So I went to the American Consulate to find a notary officially accepted in the US. Not only was it a PITA just simply to get into the consulate, but they also charge a whopping

*30 EUR*

per document, just to put the freaking little stamp and signature on the paper, shorthand for, "Dear Reader, this person really signed this document."

It seems like I could *become* a notary for less than it takes to notarize 5 documents, which is what I had to do just to send some documents to the US that had to do with a 2004 car accident which haunts my life still today.

I have one more document that has to be notarized, and it's supposed to be in asap. Does anyone know where in Berlin I can go for less - preferably much less - than 30 EUR???
NOFXmike
is it that easy to become a notary? damn...then I should do that, charge $5.
eurovol
The Embassy is your only hope abroad. Notaries are a realm of the State and only an Embassy appointed Notar is allowed to do this for all the States. I would like to change this and if you want to sign on to my resolution you can. It basically says that they cannot charge more than the State from which the US Citizen comes. Mostly that ranges from 5 to 10 bucks tops.
Melia
I was a notary back in the States, but there was a residency requirement with respect to the county and state in which I was registered, hence I left my stamp behind when I moved to Germany. I never charged for the service, and the $30 fee charged by the consulate seems pretty ridiculous.

@NOFXmike: You're right, it was very easy (at least in the Land of 10,000 Lakes) to become a notary, basically just some paper-shuffling and, of course, payment of various fees.
solagratia
Yeah, eurovol, where do i sign? I want to spare the next poor people of this.

that's really too bad about the residency requirement. It's really stealing to take advantage of supply and demand at such an inflated rate. I asked them if I could possibly get a discount, and the guy helping me said he couldn't do anything, but would it make me feel more comfortable to talk with his supervisor? I said yes, please, and while I was waiting, I heard his supervisor say loudly, "Where does she think we get the money to fund the existence of the American consulate in Berlin?" or some such thing. I don't mind funding the consulate in a reasonable manner for their services, but 30 EUR for three minutes' worth of work... theft. She argued that I would have to talk to the state department if I wanted a discount. They both asked me at the end of the conversation, "So, you still want to notarize the documents?" I pointed out that clearly, I had no alternative. Later I think they slyly gave me a discount because I argued so much, but it was still 110 EUR in the end, for a measly little stamp and signature on five documents.

The supervisor said at the end, in her wonderfully nicest, politest American way, "I'm really sorry you have to pay so much - I can't control the pricing since it's controlled by the state department." I hope she really is sorry and will use her power and knowledge to actually do something about it...!
Corcaigh
You cannot choose to become a notary in Germany you are invited (of course you can then choose to accept or not!). Its a closed club and unless you graduate from Uni with a 1 you don't even get a sniff...
solagratia
Well, just for everyone's future information, it's 30 EUR per document to get something officially notarized for the US; but if you want the same document notarized more than once, it's 20 EUR for each following identical document. The stamp they use makes the paper puff up from the underside to make the seal, and if you need to fax it and the seal has to be visible, then you can take a blank piece of paper, scribble on it with a pencil, and rub the notary seal vigorously over the scribbled lead.

I don't understand why it would be so exclusive to be a notary, at least for the basic notary services. I'm aware that some notary services are legally intricate, but it seems like for just the basic sort of signature confirmation services it shouldn't be treated like rocket science.
eurovol
Corcaigh doesn't know what he is talking about. A US notary has nothing to do with being a notary in Germany.

This is the resolution that I would like to put forward.

A resolution that US Consular Services abide applicable state law when rendering document execution and notary services to US citizens abroad.

WHEREAS, the laws of states in the United States make specific provision for the recognition of documents executed outside the United States which recognize the admissibility of documents executed outside the United States before an ambassador, minister, consul general, consul, vice consul or consular agent of the United States; and

WHEREAS, only persons who meet the definition of "notarizing officer" may notarize documents at a U.S. embassy or consulate where the term "notarizing officer" at a U.S. embassy or consulate includes consular officers, officers of the Foreign Service who are secretaries of embassy or legation under 22 U.S.C. 4221 and such U.S. citizen employees as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services may designate for the purpose of performing notarial acts overseas pursuant to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act; and

WHEREAS, there is a $30.00 fee for the first notarial service requested, and a $20 fee for each additional seal provided at the same time in connection with the same transaction and there is a $30.00 fee for each authentication service provided by a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad; and

WHEREAS, these fees represent up to a 600% increase over the same fees allowed by various state laws in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Consular Services are not readily available to every U.S. Citizen abroad and may require extraordinary measures for said citizen to obtain said services; and

WHEREAS, the Consul is acting as an extension of the state of record for which a US citizen requires document execution and notary services; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED,

That the Democrats Abroad Munich supports the limiting of fees to that which is prescribed by law of the state of voting residence of the US citizen requiring such services.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,

That the Democrats Abroad Munich also supports the authorization of qualified citizen notaries for the purposes of voter registration in support of the HAVA act.
Corcaigh
@Eurovol, my comment about how to become a notary in Germany is perfectly valid. It was in response to the post of NOFXmike about him wanting to become a notary. It is however out of context in this posting which on re-reading is related to American Accepted notaries...
solagratia
Well...I sucked it up and got my document notarized yesterday.

eurovol, I'd love to sign your resolution. Is it online anywhere? I know care2.com has a petition site somewhere so you can spread the word, grassroots-style. Do you know if the charge is the same at every U.S. embassy all over the world?
s2s2
"Velcome to Germany! Here is your Beer."
At least, the beer is cheap.
Anyone for a sterny?
solagratia
Having visited this page (on the American Consulate website)...

http://hamburg.usconsulate.gov/hamburg/acs.html

...I found this out:

"Since the U.S. and Germany are both signatories to the Hague Legalization Convention, it is not necessary for an American consular officer to notarize documents for use in the United States. Documents may instead be legalized by German authorities who will affix a Hague "Apostille" certificate. More information can be found at http://www.hcch.net."

More specifically, this is the right page:

http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conve...text&cid=41

But I must emphasize that the charge for notarizing something in Germany is still higher than US rates in the US. Does anyone know where to forward Eurovol's resolution?
Conquistador
I am sure eurovol can answer you on the status of the proposed resolution, but since it is a non-partisan issue, does there really need to be a Democrats Abroad resolution (which means nothing outside of that organization)?
tho3hite
I had to get two documents (deeds of trust) notarized for North Carolina. After reading this thread I decided to call a few local german notaries in Prenzlauer Berg - Fredrichshain. The prices they quotes me ranged from 70 to 90 EUR for the two documents. I went to the consulate and got both done for 50 USD or 38 EUR. That doesn't seem like a bad deal to me. It's more than in the US but much better than the local market. I'm satisfied.
kristinsf
Thanks for all this helpful info! To those who've used the US Embassy/Consulate...what's the procedure? You just show up at Pariser Platz one morning and ask for a notary?
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